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Virginia First Lady Reportedly Handed Cotton To Black Students During Tour

Steve Helber / AP


Virginia First Lady Reportedly Handed Cotton To Black Students During Tour

Virginia First Lady Pam Northam was accused of singling out black students and handing them cotton during a tour of the governor’s mansion!

RELATED: NYC Teacher Sues NYC for $120 Million After Being Fired For Having Black Students Play Slaves

Almost a month after her husband, Ralph Northam, was slammed after admitting to wearing blackface when his yearbook photos resurfaced, his wife is now in the hot seat! Last week, the couple hosted around 100 students, who worked as pages in the last Senate session, for a tour of their home, per the Washington Post. Northam led the tour, which is usually done by the docents, and asked 20 to describe slaves who picked cotton and tobacco she was holding.

“Mrs. Northam then asked these three pages (the only African American pages in the program) if they could imagine what it must have been like to pick cotton all day,” Leah Dozier Walker, who oversees the Office of Equity and Community Engagement at the state Education Department, wrote in a letter to lawmakers, acquired by the Post.

“I can not for the life of me understand why the first lady would single out the African American pages for this — or — why she would ask them such an insensitive question.”
According to the National Park Service, Northam handed out the props in the kitchen, where the slaves and servants who worked for Virginia governors were housed. Walker’s daughter felt offended as well and wrote her own letter.
“I will give you the benefit of the doubt, because you gave it to some other pages,” she wrote. “But you followed this up by asking: ‘Can you imagine being an enslaved person, and having to pick this all day?’, which didn’t help the damage you had done.”
Amidst the controversy, the Northams’ office came to the first lady’s defense saying she handed out the cotton randomly and didn’t single anyone out, per the Post. Even Sen. Wiliams M. Stanley Jr. (R-Franklin) told the Post that his daughter received the same tour and didn’t notice any singling out. The governor’s spokeswoman sent a statement expressing Northam’s regret.

“As first lady, I have worked over the course of the last year to begin telling the full story of the Executive Mansion, which has mainly centered on Virginia’s governors,” she wrote.

“The Historic Kitchen should be a feature of Executive Mansion tours, and I believe it does a disservice to Virginians to omit the stories of the enslaved people who lived and worked there — that’s why I have been engaged in an effort to thoughtfully and honestly share this important story since I arrived in Richmond.”
She argued that she simply uses “a variety of artifacts and agricultural crops” to illustrate “a painful period of Virginia history.”
What do you think, #Socialites? Was First Lady Pam Northam wrong? Sound off in the comments below!
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